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Bordeaux 2020: Jancis Robinson MW reveals her first impressions

Jancis Robinson MW and her team have released their initial scores and impressions of the Bordeaux 2020 vintage.

  • The Right Bank was given due praise for being perhaps the more successful half of the Gironde, with more consistency and good freshness.
  • Despite the drought conditions, many Left Bank wines are much “leaner” than expected, though at least one First Growth was judged to “have the edge” on its 2019 and 2018 vintages.

Robinson and fellow MWs Julia Harding and James Lawther have shared tasting duties for the website this year.

Giving an overarching view, it was stated: “On the basis of these cask samples, some stunning wines have been produced in 2020. On the Left Bank, they tend to be made by producers who can afford to be extremely selective in their final blends. There is a host of very successful wines on the Merlot-dominated Right Bank too – not all of them likely to be ridiculously expensive, although no prices have yet been released. But the vintage is looking generally less consistent than 2019.”

The Right Bank

St-Emilion and Pomerol were tackled first by the tasters, because, Robinson wrote, “in very general terms, this most recent vintage seems to have been more successful, or at least more consistent, there than on the Left Bank”.

She continued that she has found herself “falling back in love with St-Emilion” in recent years and 2020 in her view continues a trend back to freshness that was evident even with the 2018s.

“The wines are so much more fresh and expressive than they used to be,” she wrote.

She did not comment on Pomerol having not tasted the wines but James Lawther gave Château Lafleur a high score of 19 saying it had, “persistence and minerally freshness throughout” and “enormous ageing potential”.

The Left Bank

Conditions towards the end of the growing season in 2020 were not entirely ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon and Robinson wrote that the variety on some properties will not have reached full ripeness in her view.

She also noted the higher than normal percentages of Merlot in many blends. Tasting wines from the Médoc after St-Emilion was something of a contrast and she said the “leanness” of the latter in some instances “came as quite a shock”.

She did say she found Léoville Barton “utterly charming” and the wines from Graves and Pessac-Leognan “were pretty consistent”.

Julia Harding added some extra thoughts as well. She found some of the Margaux wines she tried, while full of “dark-fruited intensity”, lacked a little of the AOC’s traditional perfumed character.

Lawther gave two scores of 19 to First Growths Lafite and Margaux. The former he said was “deep, intense and stately” with “incredible potential”, while the latter was “classic and expressive” and “definitely has the edge on the 2019 and 2018”.

More tasting notes will be uploaded over the coming days.


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